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In a couple weeks, I will have a long layover in Cairo on a trip from Mumbai to Toronto. I get to Cairo on Sunday at noon and leave for Toronto on Monday at about 1 AM.

I am travelling on EgyptAir business class. While browsing for people who have experiences with a similar itinerary, some people seemed to have said they they were put up ina hotel by the airline. However, I did not see anything about this when I booked my ticket.

Visa information provided through the EgyptAir site allows me to enter my status (i.e. citizenship etc.) which results in a summary of what is needed to transit.

It doesn't appear like I need a transit visa- however it specifies that:

Leaving the airport is permitted for passengers with transit time between 6 and 12 hours

My transit time 13.5 hours.

Now for my questions:

  • Is it an issue that my transit time is longer than 12 hours? Can I still leave the airport?
  • What are my options with regards to airport hotels, etc.?
  • Any other recommendations about how I could best utilize my time while in Cairo?
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I will be completing this journey tomorrow, so I'll post back with my experience –  karancan Aug 17 '13 at 5:46
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2 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Given that no one really came forward with an answer, I am going to answer my own question. I am writing this answer at the Star Alliance Business Class lounge at departures so this experience is fresh.

My original questions

Is it an issue that my transit time is longer than 12 hours? Can I still leave the airport?

The transit time being longer than 12 hours does not matter. Leaving the airport is still a possibility but in this particular instance, there was an early evening curfew due to the domestic situation in Egypt. Upon arriving at the airport, passengers can request a transit visa (bear in mind, citizens of certain countries cannot obtain a visa on arrival). The processing of the visa takes about an hour and you can then leave the airport.

What are my options with regards to airport hotels, etc.?

EgyptAir arranges complementary hotel stays for passengers with transit times greater than 6 hours. This hotel stay is optional. In other words, you can either take a transit visa and leave the hotel OR go with the complementary hotel stay OR just hang out at the airport. Bear in mind, if you choose the hotel stay, the immigration office at the airport will keep your passport and boarding pass and these will be returned to you once you are brought back from the hotel. Transfers to and from the hotel are also provided by the airline. During this visit, EgyptAir brought us to the Le Meridien in Heliopolis.

Any other recommendations about how I could best utilize my time while in Cairo?

At the time of my arrival from Mumbai in to Cairo, there were several other flights that had just arrived too with passengers who have long transit times. My transit time was about 12 hours so this is how things panned out:

  • 1 p.m. Arrive in Cairo and hand in my passport to be able to visit the hotel
  • 2 p.m. Processing and collection of all passengers is complete. Start to proceed to the hotel.
  • 3.30 p.m. Arrive at Le Meridien Heliopolis. It took long because one of the shuttle buses was full, so we had to wait for the next. Check in at the hotel took a good 20 minutes too.
  • 5 p.m. Wake up call from the hotel to get ready to take the shuttle back to the airport at 6.pm. This is because there was a country wide curfew at 7.pm.
  • 6 p.m. Start boarding shuttle and reach the airport by about 6.45 p.m.

As can be seen, I didn't get much of a chance to catch a nap at the hotel. However, it was nice to be able to drive around and see a little bit of the city.

I hope this helps everyone transiting in Cairo :)

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You are lucky, if you are boarding in Cairo International Airport this is in the middle of Cairo, Nasr City where is the place to go to every awesome place.

If your Layover is 12 hours its plenty of time to take a little bit of Cairo ~,* Just make sure if your flight is between 8AM to 4PM you need to leave couple hours early the airport road is ALWAYS busy on this time and I mean very busy.

You can looking to go to City Stars, one of the malls that will surprise anyone, huge, very architecture, if you need to buy anything it is in this mall. Things are cheap in Egypt if you converting from Dollars to Egyptian pounds.

You can also go look for the Baron Palace, its building for the great civil engineer of all time Baron Empain its worth visiting.

and in these 12 hours if we say we can take 4 for transportation then you've 8 hours these 8 hours you can see the beautiful pyramids and sphinx at night or daylight.

You can go to old Cairo where everything feels old natural and just have this great spirit to it hard to find words can just express what I would like them to do. So, There is also this gas station on The Autostrad Rd "The Airport road" called Auto-Run and have place for juice called FBI, I knew its ridiculous. Youth of Egypt and even older go to this gas station with well modified cars to race and drag on the street, majority of these people are professional drivers, but yet they are doing dangerous things on the street. Chilling at this place has sort of fun at least for me.

OKAY, This place I mean if you are a fan of food and taste, you need to search and go to Andreas restaurant in Giza. I am Egyptian I know how to cook this food have ate is so many times, but when I've visit this place I said and will forever say This is the best Egyptian food I've ever had. Beyond amazing.

Another way to experience something is extremely awesome, I used to do it all the time when I want to entertain myself, I ride the Metro which is basically a slow speed train that drives inside allover Cairo, which you see different parts of Egypt awesome, but this doesn't go to the airport you can take a taxi. as I said cheap this whole thing won't cost you $50

Hope your layover in Egypt is fun.

BTW, my house is just 15 minutes off the airport I can see it from my balcony. I miss Egypt.

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protected by Ankur Banerjee Sep 2 '13 at 8:49

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